By Jeff Erickson
Oracle Mobile Cloud Service starts with a premise: You probably don't want the hotshot mobile developers you hired to spend a ton of time worrying about back-end systems.
Oracle Vice President Kaj van de Loo shows off Oracle Mobile Cloud Service.Watch the webcast
So Oracle Mobile Cloud Service lets your IT team bring together the things mobile developers need from your enterprise architecture, like data sources and system integrations, and makes sure they are "presented to mobile developers in a way that makes sense to them," said Kaj van de Loo, Oracle vice president of development, in a recent webcast.
Meanwhile, said van de Loo, enterprise architects use the same platform to ensure the mobile application is part of the overall enterprise IT strategy and not another one-off, ad hoc mobile app.
Oracle Mobile Cloud Service is a single platform that enables IT managers, business leaders, and mobile developers to work together to plan, build, and fine-tune the mobile app.
Here's how it works: When a business unit requests a new mobile app, IT managers use Oracle Mobile Cloud Service to give mobile developers easy access to services like user management, offline data, push notification, and storage. "Everything they think the developer needs to build their client app is in one place," said van de Loo. These services are presented as application programming interfaces (APIs), which are very familiar to mobile developers.
This is a very powerful concept—that the mobile developer does not need to go on a scavenger hunt around the enterprise to figure out where to get data and other resources. It's all in one place.
—Oracle Vice President Kaj van de Loo
Mobile developers can explore a catalog of APIs that have been prepared for them by IT managers. If the developers don't see what they need, they can sketch out what they want. Oracle Mobile Cloud Service produces a mock API so the developer can continue working while the enterprise developers use Oracle Mobile Cloud Service to view specifications and build out new back-end connectors.
Oracle Mobile Cloud Service also gives mobile developers easy access to data storage that's been secured and segmented. "This is a very powerful concept—that the mobile developer does not need to go on a scavenger hunt around the enterprise to figure out where to get data and other resources," van de Loo said. "It's all in one place. And managed centrally."
Choices for client-side technologies, which run on smartphones, tablets, watches, and other devices, are left squarely up to the mobile developer, said van de Loo. They can use Oracle's own Mobile Application Framework, or any other client development tools, native or cross-platform, such as Xamarin for C# developers."
On the enterprise side, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service provides a platform that lets enterprise architects, service developers, and back-end developers collect and format information from their vast enterprise infrastructure and present it to mobile developers. "The enterprise developers can secure [the services they share with mobile developers], they can make sure that everything performs and scales as needed for a true enterprise mobile solution," said van de Loo.
Once customers or employees are using the app in the real world, enterprise developers can continue to fine-tune it by monitoring API calls, response times, and other performance metrics. "With the short lifecycle of mobile apps," said van de Loo, "these analytics give you the exact information you need to design the next iteration."
Finally, for business unit leaders, who are probably paying for all this mobile development, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service lets them see when and how people are using their application. "How many users have signed up this week? How many are active? Where are they from?" said van de Loo. "Oracle Mobile Cloud Service helps business users drill down and analyze usage data."
What's unique about Mobile Cloud Service, said van de Loo, is that it provides complete lifecycle management of the mobile app and "lets mobile developers be mobile developers," while it also caters to enterprise developers so "they can implement a mobile strategy and make sure everything is secure, everything scales."